I scream, you scream, we all scream over DC’s latest food trend… ice cream! Since the pandemic, a number of new stores, trucks and sidewalk carts have opened up in the District and we can’t wait to sample all of them this summer. From newcomers like Dupont Circle’s Happy Ice Cream and Everyday Sundae in Petworth to old-time favorites like The Yard Park’s Ice Cream Jubilee and Spring Valley’s Millie’s, we rounded up our favorite places to grab a cone on a hot day. To get the scoop on where to go, scroll down.
In the City
Happy Ice Cream
Nothing makes us happier than a delicious scoop of ice cream on a hot day, so we’re digging this aptly named sidewalk cart that recently opened in front of Happy Gyro in Dupont Circle. Former Komi pastry chef Ben Brunner whips up foodie-inspired flavors like strawberry-buttermilk with polenta crumble and oatmeal cookie with chocolate shavings. Ice cream is sold by the pint or in hand-rolled sour dough cones. To find out daily selections, follow Happy Ice Cream on Instagram.
1509 17th St NW
You don’t have to wait for the weekend to enjoy life. Everyday Sundae celebrates weekend vibes all week long (get it? Everyday Sunday!). When career chef Charles Foreman lost his job during the pandemic, he made the ultimate pandemic pivot and went into business for himself. Today he serves Hershey Creamery ice cream in handmade cones at this Petworth outpost. Foreman often hosts community events, like free outdoor movies in a neighboring parking lot (be sure to subscribe to the newsletter for the latest offerings and events). When you stop by, be sure to bring in your child’s artwork. Foreman likes to use his walls as a gallery for local kid’s art.
713 Kennedy St. NW
Niko’s Spiked Gelato
Niko’s is another sweet pandemic pivot story (pun intended). During the early days of COVID, Studio52 nightclub owners found a creative way for locals to bring the party home: spiked ice cream! Naturally, these adult treats were an overnight success. Today, Niko’s serves alcohol-infused pints along with non alcoholic flavors so the whole family can enjoy this summertime treat. Popular boozy infusions include Caribbean Rum Punch Sorbet and Salted Caramel Whisky Gelato while non-alcoholic options include Raspberry Sunshine Sorbet and Cookies and Cream.
1508 Okie St. NE
From the owners of the Little Red Fox coffee shop, Sugar Fox sells ice cream, sheet cake and cupcakes on the popular Connecticut Ave strip that includes Politics and Prose bookstore and the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Chevy Chase. The ice cream is made out of products from South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland and the baked goods mixed into the ice cream come from Little Red Fox. It’s a winning combination.
5027 Connecticut Ave NW
Mount Desert Island Ice Cream
Head here for the best cookies and cream varieties in town. This shop imports their super creamy Mt. Desert ice cream from their home base of Maine. For those with allergies, Mount Desert Island keeps nut-free scoops, gluten-free scoops and dairy-free scoops that don’t mingle with regular scoops in the dip well.
3110 Mt Pleasant St NW 1st Floor
Ice Cream Jubilee
Owner Victoria Lai started Ice Cream Jubilee as home tasting parties for friends. Today, Ice Cream Jubilee uses all natural cream and milk from a local creamery at all of its stores. Victoria conceives flavors inspired by her international travels, delicious libations and Texan upbringing. Unique offerings include Asian Heritage inspired flavors, like Miso Caramel & Peanut Butter Cookies and Dan Tat Brûlée. Her eclectic flavors have earned her coverage in sites like Eater and Thrillist.
301 Water St. SE
The Yard Park
1407 T St. NW
4238 Wilson Blvd, #143
Thomas Sweet Ice Cream
A long-standing Georgetown favorite on the corner of Wisconsin Ave. and P St. N.W., this traditional parlor makes ice cream on-location, offers a wide variety of delicious flavors, and also specializes in “mix-ins” that let guests blend a variety of toppings into several scoops. Thomas Sweets also offers locally-made candy and treats, including hand-dipped chocolates, as well as sandwiches and espresso drinks.
3214 P St. NW
photo: Lullabelle’s Sweet Shop
Lullabelle’s Sweet Shop
Part-old fashioned candy store, part ice cream parlor with a sprinkle of sundries and gifts, this this Petworth shop scoops up 10 artisanal flavors, like the popular Honey Graham ice cream (it takes just like the cereal!) and Peanut Butter Cup. There is limited seating indoors, but you can enjoy your creamy dessert outside where brightly color chairs line the sidewalk. This sweet shop also serves savory sandwiches. Breakfast and lunch sandwiches are all served on waffle and cooked on the iron.
Insider’s tip: This now ships candy and baked goods nationwide!
847 Upshur St NW
This Canal Park gelato shop is the brainchild of the Wiseguy Pizza owners (yes! DC’s best crust pizza is just steps away) and is conveniently located near the Navy Yard metro stop. Altani’s carries some exceptionally unique flavors, like Sweet Potato (which is a kid-enticing color of Barney-purple). This shop also offers dairy free options.
Inside tip: Kids will love the splash pad located directly in front of Altani’s.
202 M St SE (at S 2nd Pl)
Millie’s Spring Valley
Millie’s restaurant pays homage to the stress-free, beachy Nantucket vibe, and their menu is fresh California Baja-style. Kids will LOVE going to the old-fashioned ice cream window outside. The walk-up ice cream stand is filled with classic Gifford flavors and fun toppings.
4866 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s was founded 16 years ago by Jeni Britton Bauer, a James Beard Award-winning author of two cookbooks. Mouthwatering flavors include Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach, Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Pistachio & Honey and Wildberry Lavender. Want to churn out your own ice cream this summer? You can snag a Jeni’s ice cream desserts cookbook for homemade goodies!
1925 14th St. NW
These folks are serious about local ingredients, which they use to create a wide selection of delicious ice cream flavors. Offerings run the gamut, from Cotton Candy Gummy Bear to Strawberry White Chocolate. The in-demand treat can also found on the dessert menus of several top DC restaurants and in local grocery stores. While we love ice cream on a hot day, Moorenko’s checks off our box for rainy days, too. With tons of board games to choose from, this will quickly become a go-to place for family game night!
8030-B Georgia Ave.
Silver Spring, MD
Sarah’s Handmade Ice Cream
Sarah’s Handmade Ice Cream—a Korean-American family business—is a Bethesda neighborhood hotspot. Sarah sells not only the expected vanillas and chocolates but also unconventional Asian flavors like Matcha, Thai tea and Korean pear. They also serve up bubble tea!
5241 River Rd.
Mix and match freshly baked brownies, doughnuts, and cookies…YES…ALL THREE CHOICES…. for the top and bottom of this epic ice cream sandwich. You stuff this delectable “sandwich” with yummy ice cream flavors like rocky road, salted caramel, and ‘bear batter.’ But wait, it gets better! Your delicacy is “pressed” in a magical machine that warms the top and bottom but keeping the ice cream cold in the center before they are rolled in toppings. Topping options include brownie bits, Fruity Pebbles, mini chocolate chips, and whipped cream, among others.
929 Rose Ave.
North Bethesda, MD
Scottish Highland Creamery
Started by an Edinburgh native, the Scottish Highland Creamery is a must visit if you’re in lovely Oxford! Their splendid ice cream is made with fresh, local ingredients and some of their flavorings are even imported from Italy.
Insider tip: Make sure to order the Italian lemon cookie—it’ll transport you right to the Amalfi coast.
314 Tilghman St.
You and your kids will feel like you’ve entered a cool chemistry lab at Nicecream! They use liquid nitrogen to freeze their ice cream right in front of your eyes and IT IS AMAZING. The process also allows for them to include fresh ingredients with a thicker and creamier finish. Flavors rotate weekly and include honey lavender, key lime pie and mint chocolate chunk.
2831 Clarendon Blvd.
Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream
Get a taste of the Philippines with the globally inspired ice creams at Toby’s. In addition to standards like chocolate chip cookie dough, find ube (purple yam), avocado, and macapuno (Filipino coconut).
5849 Washington Blvd.
The Dairy Godmother
This little shop is tucked into the Del Ray area of Alexandria and offers some great icy treats including frozen custard, sorbet and homemade marshmallows.
2310 Mt Vernon Ave.
—Meghan Meyers with Guiomar Ochoa & Kristina Messner